26 September 2016

USA: US, ROK navies demonstrate anti-submarine warfare, precision strike capabilities

Image: Flickr User - U.S. Pacific Fleet
From U.S. Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs

WATERS TO THE WEST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (March 17, 2013) The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), front, the Republic of Korea Navy destroyer ROKS Seoae-Yu-Seong-Ryong (DDG 993), middle, and the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) move into formation during exercise Foal Eagle 2013 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Released) >>

WATERS EAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA - The U.S. and Republic of Korea navies (ROKN) joined forces to conduct a combined maritime operation in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, Sept. 26.

The operation is in response to recent North Korean provocations and is designed to send a strong message of unified resolve against continuing acts of North Korean aggression.

The U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) joined ROKN Aegis destroyers, submarines, anti-submarine helicopters, and U.S. and ROKN P-3 patrol aircraft in the operation that highlighted the unified naval force capabilities in defense of the Republic of Korea and region from surface, subsurface, and ballistic missile threats.

“This operation showcases the unwavering strength and resolve of the U.S. and ROK navies,” said Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea and Task Force 78. “We work side-by-side with our ROK partners every day; we are by their side today at sea, and we will remain by their side to defend against North Korea’s unprovoked acts of aggression.”

"Our ROK-US alliance will counter the North Korean nuclear development and SLBM threats with determination,” said Vice Adm. Lee, Ki-sik, commander of the Republic of Korea Fleet.

Industry: First destroyer Hobart successfully completes Builder Sea Trials

Today (24 Sep 2016), the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance achieved a major milestone with the successful completion of Builder Sea Trials for the first destroyer Hobart following several days at sea off the coast of South Australia.

AWD Alliance General Manager Lloyd Beckett said that sea trials were the commencement of an exciting new phase for the Air Warfare Destroyer project.

“This first phase of sea trials, conducted over several days in the local South Australian waters, marks the successful testing of the ship’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems. A second phase of more advanced trials will take place in early 2017 when Hobart trials its combat and communications systems,” he said.

The successful completion of Hobart’s Builder Sea Trials represents a decade of dedication and effort by the AWD workforce on one of the most complex shipbuilding projects in Australia’s history.

News Report: What's Behind Philippine President's Visit to China Amid S China Sea Tensions

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will pay official visits to China and Japan late next month, Reuters reported citing anonymous diplomatic sources in Manila.

Even though the Philippines’ relations with Japan are warm, those with China have long been soured over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Briefing reporters earlier this week President Duterte said that the conflict with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea made no sense and that he would seek closer business ties with Beijing.

In an interview with Sputnik Professor Shen Shishun from the Chinese Institute of International Studies said that it looked like the Philippine president was ready to put the territorial dispute on the back burner and concentrate on promoting closer mutually-beneficial trade and investment cooperation with China. 

“Mending bilateral ties could be one of the high points of Mr. Duterte’s visit to China. Despite the ongoing conflict in the South China Sea all the ten ASEAN countries are on good terms with Beijing and their leaders see closer ties with China as key to solving their countries’ economic and social problems,” Professor Shen said. 

News Report: India’s Deployment of BrahMos Supersonic Stealth Missile is Making China Nervous

India’s more hawkish foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with a major scoop up of international armaments has Beijing looking to their southern border with concern.

The Indian military deployed a fourth regiment of 100 BrahMos missiles and five autonomous missile launchers in the North-Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh disconcertingly close to the country’s border with China amid festering tensions between New Delhi and Beijing in large part based on China’s pledge to support its long-time ally Pakistan in the event of an attack.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) immediately denounced the deployment calling it a threat and saying it raises the stakes over a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries.

The BrahMos "missile with updated capabilities for stealth and mountain warfare could threaten Yunnan and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) provinces, located across the border from Arunachal Pradesh," said the People’s Liberation Army in a statement while a state-run media editorial said the move was "beyond India’s ‘normal need for self-defense.’ Playing tricks, they are bound to suffer the consequences." 

News Report: Afghan Forces Foil Suicide Attack in Southeastern Paktika Province

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) prevented a mined vehicle suicide attack in southeastern Paktika province, the Ministry of Interior said in a press release on Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — No militant group has taken responsibility for the attack attempt.

"The group had planned to launch a terrorist attack in Paktika province. Afghan National Security Forces confiscated one suicide vest, three AK-47 rifles, two pistols, five radio handsets, one explosives laden vehicle and some amount of light and heavy round of ammunition," the press release read adding, that at least nine militants were killed. 

Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency, while other extremist groups, such as Daesh terrorists have also expanded their activities both in the country and in neighboring states.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: South China Sea Claimants Blur Lines Between Military, Civilians

Ha Nguyen

Southeast Asian nations have tried for years to establish a code of conduct for shipping, fishing and exploring for oil in the South China Sea. The idea is to avoid a conflict in the disputed, and potentially lucrative, waterway.

But some regional experts say such a code may be pointless.

Collin Koh Swee Lean, a maritime scholar at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that’s because most countries with overlapping claims in the region believe their military buildups there are justified.

Koh said recently this militarization has become more “nebulous” in recent years. From pirates to fishermen, nearly everyone can be implicated if nations clash over ownership of the islands and waters in the South China Sea.

“You’ll find that it’s very difficult to define exactly what militarization is,” he said at a seminar hosted this week by the Saigon Center for International Studies in Ho Chi Minh City.

News Report: India's PM Says Pakistan's Support of Terror Is Destabilizing Asia

Anjana Pasricha

NEW DELHI — Slamming Pakistan as an exporter of terrorism, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused his country's South Asian neighbor of trying to destabilize Asia and vowed to isolate it in the international community.

These were Modi's first public comments since a terror attack on an Indian army base heightened tensions between the two countries. They were made at a rally of his Bharatiya Janata Party in the southern Indian city of Kozhikode.

"People of Pakistan should question their leadership on why, when both countries gained freedom together, while India exports software to the world, Pakistan exports terrorists," he said.

Alluding to Pakistan, he said that while all Asian countries were working to ensure that the 21st century belongs to Asia, there was one nation working to ensure that this would not happen.

Modi named Afghanistan and Bangladesh as other countries in the region that were also suffering because of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

The hard-line leader has been under pressure to give a tough response to the attack that killed 18 soldiers at an army base close to the the border with Kashmir. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based Islamic militant Jaish-e-Mohammad group. Islamabad strongly denied any involvement and said India had not provided proof to back its accusations.

News Story: Pakistan welcomes peace agreement in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Sunday welcomed the signing of a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the armed resistance group Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, saying it supports the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace efforts.

The peace deal was signed in Kabul on Thursday after months of negotiations that will allow the group to start political activities and take part in elections. The group will declare permanent ceasefire, the 25-point peace agreement said.

"Pakistan welcomes the recent agreement signed between the government of Afghanistan and Hekmatyar (Chief of Hizb-e-Islami)," the Foreign Ministry said.

"Pakistan wishes to see peace in Afghanistan and we support all sincere Afghan owned and Afghan led peace efforts to that end," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China air force conducts west Pacific drill, patrols ADIZ

Chinese H-6 Bomber
NANJING, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Air Force on Sunday sent more than 40 aircraft of various types to the West Pacific, via the Miyako Strait, for a routine drill on the high seas, a spokesperson said.

Shen Jinke, spokesperson of the People's Liberation Army Air Force, said the fleet, including H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters, and air tankers, conducted reconnaissance and early warning, attacks on sea surface targets, and in-flight refueling to test the Air Force's fighting capacity on the high seas.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippine president to visit Vietnam from Sept. 28 to 29

MANILA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit Vietnam from September 28 to 29, a senior government official said Sunday.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview over a state-run radio station that aside from meeting his counterpart, Duterte will also meet with businessmen and the Filipino community in Vietnam during his trip.

Read the full story at Xinhua